Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
“Stay true to oneself?” Thales repeated with a face full of doubt.
However, he was incredibly confused. He felt like he was surrounded by fog.
‘The second declaration among Mystics: Stay true to myself…’
Compared to the mysterious rule of not delving into each other’s origins, this rule seemed normal. It was like there was no need for any further explanations.
“A Mystic, must stay true to himself or herself at all times. That is all.” The stranger looked unapproachable. “As for the rest, you need to realized it on your own.”
‘Hmm… realize it on my own Huh?’ Once Thales registered it, he was shocked! He looked at the other party, flabbergasted. ‘Realize it on my own? What the f*ck?
‘This teaching style of throwing me a sentence and then going off on his merry way… Why is it so familiar?’
“Wait wait wait wait! You only that?”
Thales opened his eyes wide and stared at the stranger who seemed like he was about to leave. Thales tried hard to say more to convince him to stay.
“‘Stay true to oneself’, what does that mean? I mean, at least‘not delving deep into each other’s origins’ seems like a practical rule”
However, just as Thales was about to throw out a series of questions, the stranger only raised his head gently and stared into the distance.
He placed his hands behind his back and said coldly, “You should go now. They have noticed you.”
Thales’ eyelids twitched. ‘They… The girls.’
“So soon?” The teenager imitated the stranger and gazed at the empty, blurry space. Just as he expected, he saw nothing.
Thales said in a troubled and upset manner, “Why would they be so interested in me?”
This question caused the air to become silent for a moment. Afterwards, the stranger said softly, “Do not blame them. They are the same as you are; they are pitiful children, forced to do this.”
There was a faint, sad tone in the stranger’s voice.
When Thales heard this, he could not help but frown tightly.
‘What? Pitiful children? Forced?’ Thales still looked bewildered.
“After all, they have already sacrificed too much for the world…”
Thales clearly heard the stranger sighing behind the blurry ‘water curtain’. He sounded very empathetic.
‘Sacrificed too much for the world…’ Thales shuddered just as he frowned over this phrase.
A memory he had not seen in a long time came to mind. In that memory, he was in a simple temple, and he was having a conversation with a high priestess.
“He believed that you were not the same, he believed that you would do better He sacrificed too much.”‘
Thales narrowed his eyes in puzzlement. He thought those words were strangely familiar.
‘He sacrificed too much… Sacrifice… Wait, sacrifice!’
At that moment, Thales came back to his senses. He remembered.
His breathing increased in speed.
The prince, the Great Desert, the prison, the assassins, the ambush, being captured, the hostages, the Alchemy Ball…
The scenes and memories flooded his mind. More of his memories returned to him, and the memories he had lost just now were restored.
Thales took in large gulps of air, his gaze was unfocused. He did not even notice the stranger’s gaze on him.
‘Shit Shit! There’
Thales remembered the last scene that happened not too long ago in terror. It was not by chance that he lost control, evolved, and knocked on the Door…
‘There Yodel, Stake’s dagger, and the Alchemy Ball’
The agitation and tension in the teenager reached its peak at that moment.
The stranger continued saying, “I will help you escape from the state of losing control, and then send you to a safe”
Thales raised his head at that moment. “No!”
His face contorted as he blurted out, “I can’t go back like this! I can’t leave this state of ‘losing control’!…”
The stranger stopped speaking. He watched Thales quietly.
“I remember it. I sense it now.” Thales clenched his fists tighter. He could not suppress his emotions. “There is something, someone, and something happening waiting for me on that side.”
When he thought of this, he took a step forward agitatedly. “Tell me, tell me more!”
Thales gritted his teeth and looked at the other party before he said determinedly, “You don’t need to teach me what is mystic energy but you can teach me the tricks, teach me the ways, teach me how to ‘stay true to myself’, how to remain rational while I lose control.”
‘I must bring with me the power of the Mystics while I’m awake’
“They… They’re waiting for me.”
Thales looked anxious and his gaze was nervous. But the other party only stared at him from a distance. He did not move, as though he did not hear anything.
Thales’ heart sank.
A few seconds later, the stranger said faintly, “This is not something where you will be able to succeed in one go. You cannot go into this with last-minute preparations. You need to practice, reckless moves will”
“But I have no time to practice.” In his anxiety and panic, the second prince’s voice grew more agitated. “Please teach me! I’m begging you! Regardless of whether it’s for the sake of your ‘old friend’ or for Asda!”
This time, the other party stared at him for a long time.
One… two… five seconds…
However, right before Thales could register what was going on, the illusionary image of the stranger shuddered, and he was filled with an aggressive aura!
The other party took a step forward. His eyes, hidden behind the ‘water curtain’, shone. Two powerful rays of light shot out, passing through all obstacles as if they had corporeal form.
They entered Thales’ eyes, causing the teenager’s vision to black out for a moment. The space known as the ‘proximal world’ shattered layer by layer, and the illusory ‘water curtain’ turned into thick, solid fog.
They came pressing down on him from all directions as if they had life. They squashed down on the area until it became small and cramped. Everything before him was turned intopitch-black darkness. It was like a huge wave in a raging black sea!
Thales was so scared that he took a step back, but he felt that the stranger in front of him was becoming more and more overwhelming.
“The girls are good, I cannot hide you from their sight for too long.” The stranger said in a stiff manner, “Understand as much as you can.”
Before Thales had the time to express his gratitude, the man spoke decisively, he did not beat around the bush.
“First, the anchor point.” The stranger circled Thales by taking very slow steps in the darkness-enveloped space. Powerful light still shone from his mysterious eyes as he examined Thales from various angles. “You must find your anchor point, this is the most direct, and also the It is the way to ‘stay true to yourself’.”
Thales had yet to recover from the shock of the drastic change before him. He showed a puzzled expression. “Anchor point?”
The stranger stopped behind Thales. “I don’t like to use metaphors, but as a successor, you are just too bad, so I can only use this partial and ill-fitting way to explain this to you.”
Thales thought of something.
Behind him, the mysterious Mystic in space said coldly, “When you roam the great sea of mystic energy, you will constantly feel the threshold rising and falling, and it will affect you far more than just your physical body.
“You need a ship anchor that will constantly bind you. Even in danger, it will drag you back to your most basic physical form while you evolve. This is the anchor point.”
The thick, eerie mist around them flowed as the stranger spoke. It emitted a weak light and also stopped Thales from seeing everything beyond it. This made Thales feel as though he was on an endless sea. He was lost.
The stranger did not waste any time. He continued saying, “An accurate and effective anchor point will not only help you control your terrifying urges and desires, it will also help you stay true to yourself and let you preserve your rationality when you come into contact with mystic energy. In fact, it could even be effective after you knock on the Door. It will allow you to return from your basic formwhich you would be unable to resistto your physical form. You will then be able to return to yourself.”
Thales pondered over his words for a bit. “So, I need an anchor point… How do I do it?”
The stranger slowly lifted a finger. The colorless ripple once again circled the tip of his fingers and formed illusions in front of his blurred face.
“In general, the anchor point can be anything: a memory, an object, a characteristic, an incident.”
‘Memory, object, characteristic, incident. To know yourself clearly. To suppress recklessness. To remain rational. To return to yourself.’
Thales suddenly remembered that mysterious incident where he ‘knocked on the Door’ six years ago. At that time, what called him back to Dragon Clouds City from his basic form was
The stranger continued, “But most importantly, the anchor point must direct you to yourself.”
Thales was suddenly stunned. He immediately asked, “Myself?” His thoughts focused on what the stranger had said.
‘Staying true to myself. But’
“Yourself.” The stranger nodded. The flowing light shone above his head. Circles of blurry, colorless ripples came out from it. “It is one of the few things on you that other things will not be able to tainted.”
While still shining in that strong light, the stranger’s eyes flashed on his blurred face. “Now, answer me.” His voice became extremely firm and cold. This forced Thales to pay attention to him. “Who are you?”
Thales was slightly shocked. “Me?” The teenager answered instinctively, “Erm, Th-Thales?”
But the stranger suddenly became aggressive. “Thales? Hmph! How do you know that there is only one Thales in the world?”
He spoke faster and continued to coldly ask, “What if I tell you that there was an unlucky sailor named Thales 123 years ago in some rundown bar on the south harbor of Constellation? Is your anchor point going to be directed to you, or him?”
Thales was shocked by the stranger’s terse question. The stranger said, “As I have said, the self will not be tainted by other things.
“Thales, is this name you used for over ten years your true self, or is it a label someone attached on you and you thought it was your self?”
Thales felt his breathing hasten.
“Let me ask you one more time, who are you?” the stranger repeated fiercely.
The thick and eerie mist around them was still there. It was dark and gloomy.
Thales gritted his teeth and took a deep breath. “Erm, then I was born in Lower City District, Constellation, in Year 665 in the Calendar of Eradication, as the Thales Jadestar who had lived an unfortunate first half of his life?”
He raised his head and looked at the stranger tentatively.
“Hmph, you increased the content, narrowed down the range of things that can be used as your label so that it would be more convenient for you to direct your anchor point. It seems very effective, but if it is that effective, my question is”
At the beginning, the stranger murmured under his breath as if he was contemplating it, but in the end his tone changed and he spoke with biting sarcasm.
“Then why don’t you just use a biography the length of a three-foot scroll and treat that as your anchor point?”
Thales’ eyebrows moved. The stranger’s tone was a little disdainful.
“The longer the string to a kite, the harder it is to control the kite. If you put such a heavy load on your anchor point, then perhaps its string will snap in the storm right at the moment it fixes itself on the Year 665.”
Thales frowned, troubled. The seemingly callous stranger said, “The self! What you need is a precise definition, not squeezing redundant descriptions and labels onto it. You are just like the protagonists of clich novels about knights. He brings out many powerful treasures and titles when he faces his enemies, but none of them truly belong to him.”
The stranger bent down. His blurry face nearly touched the tip of Thales’ nose. His eyes still shone brightly, making Thales unable to open his own eyes.
“I will ask one more time. Who are you?”
The teenager still opened his eyes and stared at him nervously. The surrounding thick mist and strong waves roiled continuously, as though they testified the stranger’s emotions at that moment.
This made Thales feel stressed. He made his decision, and said through gritted teeth, “Okay, I am Prince Thales, the Mystic? There is no way I can mix up my identity anymore, right?”
When he heard Thales’ words, the stranger turned silent for a moment before he slowly straightened his back.
“Very good, this ‘self’ of yours seems to be unique only to you, but is it really accurate?” The stranger snorted coldly.
Thales was stunned again.
“These three components are indistinguishable and abstruse. Is your anchor point then supposed to guide you to the self that is Mystic, Thales, or the prince?” The other party shook his head and said, “Furthermore, can your true self be summarized in these four words? Prince Thales, the Mystic?”
The stranger snorted coldly. He continued asking, “For the last time, who are you?”
The repeatedly attacked Thales felt gloomy. His anxiety and nervousness, the constant questioning, and the harsh retorts that followed afterwards did not give Thales the chance to breathe and think carefully. He could only be in a state of confusion. He no longer cared about the surging mist above the stranger. He also could not be bothered by the strange images in the space that was the proximal world.
He treasured his last opportunity. Thales asked the stranger solemnly and seriously, “I don’t understand. How do I confirm my anchor point? How do I make sure that it points to my true self? And what is the self?”
The teenager shook his head honestly. “I really don’t know.”
The stranger seemed to have expected his question. He snorted gently. “Because this is far more difficult than you can expect.”
The mysterious Mystic raised both of his hands. He said loudly, “In this world, most people cannot recognize themselves.” As he said that, the thick mist and the dark waves in the proximal world obediently made way.
The colorless ripples in the space turned into miniature situations of human lives. In them were countless people who did not have faces. They were born, grew up, worked, gained achievements, and died. These scenes showed their lives.
“They rely on all sorts of dazzling labels in the world to live: Name, career, looks, achievements, status, social hierarchy, bloodline, relationships, titles, power, wealth, materials”
Thales watched the stranger’s performance blankly. The stranger moved his hands, and the illusion changed at once.
“Some labels were added to people by other people, some were chosen later by people themselves. But regardless of whether they acknowledged the labels when others placed it on them, convinced themselves that they were the label due to certain habits, or defined themselves with the label due to where they were, they would usually sink deep into the trap set by the external world. They believe that the labels and what they represent are actually what makes them themselves, but they never know what their true selves are.”
‘Labels The self’ Thales frowned. He could not figure it out.
“If you direct your anchor point and attach it on pointless labels, thinking that those things are yourself and hope that these things will bring you back home”
The fingers of the stranger shook. The images in the colorless ripples suddenly cracked into pieces. Thales was shocked by it. The words of the stranger sounded cold and distant.
“Over the course of history, there have been many who were lost in this step, and they disappeared into space, never to return We call that ‘the wrong anchor’.
“No matter how strong the person’s will is, once he walks down the wrong path, he will continue to stray from the correct path, and he will continue making mistakes.”
‘The wrong anchor Lost’
At that moment, Thales thought he had figured out something, but when he thought back on it, he found that he apparently understood nothing. He ruffled his hair, feeling agonized.
“The self is not a label? The anchor point cannot be on labels? Then where should I place my anchor point?”
The stranger snorted gently, as if he would not agree to answer Thales’ question.
“I don’t know.” The stranger stared at him coldly. A cold light seemed to have come from his blurred face. “Why don’t you tell me?”
‘Okay.’ When he saw the stranger react this way, Thales shook his head, troubled.
He was obviously not the kind of person who liked providing his students the answers.
In the mysterious proximal world, the stranger cast a deep glance at Thales before he turned around.
“Your lesson on ‘staying true to oneself’ ends here.” He showed a lonely back to the teenager. “As for how much you can understand it”
Thales was shocked. “Wait!”
However, the stranger did not even turn his head around. He looked like he was about to disappear into the fog. At the same time, Thales also felt that everything around him had begun to fade away.
It seemed like the man was about to leave soon. Thales was getting anxious.
‘Damn it. Anchor point, the self what do all of these mean?!’
He stared as the stranger slowly disappeared, and wracked his mind to think of a way to keep the stranger around.
‘For the sake of not forgetting, for the sake of keeping my mind intact, I need to find an anchor point for when I lose control, and when I evolve. The anchor point must point directly at myself, so that it can pull me back.
‘So from the anchor point to myself… Let’s take this as an example. When I sail on the sea and drop Wait. An example?…’
When he thought of this, the teenager was suddenly stunned. He raised his head and stared blankly at the thick, fading fog in the proximal world.
“The guide!” Thales subconsciously blurted out.
At that moment, the dark mist surrounding him shuddered as though it was sentient. The stranger turned his head around, and the thick mist stopped dissipating.
He pinned his gaze on Thales. Thales panted as he asked, “You you were Asda’s guide, right?”
‘Great. At least I managed to make him stay…’
Thales was fearful. The stranger seemed unprepared for Thales’s sudden question. He moved slightly, and his blurred face quivered a bit as well.
After a few seconds, the stranger then asked indistinctly, “Why?”
Thales let out a slow breath. He could sense his memories gradually recovering.
“Asda said that he hated metaphors, and you don’t seem to like it either,” Thales said in an attempt to test the stranger.
The stranger remained silent… but Thales thought that he had acknowledged it.
“Why metaphors? Why do you hate metaphors?” Thales suddenly threw another question, then he immediately realized that something was not right.
He could not tell the stranger’s exact expression, he could only feel the eyes of the other party behind the ‘water curtain’ suddenly move. Several ripples stirred up, yet he did not look offended.
The stranger then spoke using a strange tone, “Because using metaphors in the most serious discussions between equals is lazy and manipulative.”
Thales thought of something, and felt that he had come to understand something.
The stranger continued, “It relies on superficial similarities to connect the tenor and the vehicle, but it is also easy to confuse the true nature and circumstance of the subject itself. It allows the speaker to indulge in his laziness and misleads the listener. They end up putting their understanding solely on the surface of the metaphor, and because of it, unknowingly twist the subject’s true image.
“It is a scout for sophistry and empty talk, the vanguard for judgment errors and misinterpretation. Even if they are similar, the vehicle and tenor may not be connected; even if it is easily understood, the listener’s understanding of the metaphor may not match the original meaning of what the speaker wished to convey,” the stranger said indifferently.
At that moment, Thales shuddered slightly. He seemed to have understood something. Thales instinctively spoke up. He imitated the stranger’s sentence pattern, but his subject changed.
“Even if they are similar, the label and the true self might not be connected; even if it is easily understood, the version of the self obtained through these labels may not necessarily be my true self, ” Thales said absent-mindedly.
The stranger did not reply, and only stared at Thales quietly. As he said these words slowly, the teenager’s train of thought slowly became smoother.
He looked at the stranger with a hint of urgency and excitement. “So, if I want to fix the anchor on my true self, what I really need is to actually get rid of every external label; get rid of the things that will ‘taint’ me, as you call it. Because those labels also blurred the true quality of a certain matter. It will blur your concept of what is your true self, right?”
The stranger remained silent.
Thales’ eyes brightened. He kept on asking, “They are like the vehicles used to describe other objects similar to them, but the meaning contained in these vehicles are either too much or too little. Since there is a deviation in meaning and the situation between labels and the self, labels cannot be used to represent the true self, right?”
Thales’ thoughts were getting clearer, he hit his palm with a fist. “So, I can’t rely on external objects to fix my anchor point to find my true self, this will be the ‘wrong anchor’.
“It is similar to how you two dislike using metaphors and similes in serious discussions to convey your opinions. It will form a misrepresentation of the situation you want to talk about and twist the crux of your discussion.”
The stranger watched him silently.
A few unique thoughts were formed within the thousands of thoughts created through mystic energy.
‘Maybe you’re right, Asda. He is indeed different. Not his bloodline, not his birth, not his aptitude. But it’s’
When he thought of this, the stranger snorted gently. “Ironically, what you said is also a metaphor.”
It seemed that he regarded Thales’ words with extreme contempt.
‘But at least he did not deny it,’ Thales said in his heart, ‘That means…’ At that moment, Thales frowned tightly.
“Stay true to oneself,” he subconsciously repeated this sentence. “‘Will not be tainted by external matters’…” The prince raised his head. He looked like he was in deep thought. “So that’s what this means.”
The stranger crossed his arms over his chest, and weak ripples appeared on his face. It made Thales think he was smiling.
‘I need to find the original, complete, true matter that belongs solely to me in this world’
“Because hell is other people,” Thales said in a stunned manner.
Puzzlement appeared in the stranger’s voice. “What?”
Thales came to his senses. He shook his head. “Nothing. It’s just nonsense from an old man named Sartre.”
The stranger and the thick fog around him started to disperse again. The mysterious Mystic said calmly, “Then go. Go back to the your most intense state of losing control to test your anchor point.
“If you succeed and remain rational, preserving your mind while you lose control so that you are not lost, then you will have officially settled in the ‘matter’ stage. You will be a true contactor… even though I think that the theories on mystic energy stages cannot really be applied on you.”
Thales’ expression tensed. He remembered his companions who were in danger on the other side, but did not say anything in the end.
When things came to a head, he began to hesitate a little. “If I fail?”
The stranger laughed coldly. “If your anchor point fails then you will repeat the same mistake. You will evolve at insane rate until you knock on the Door. Then, you will just have to wait for the two girlseagerly anticipating your arrival with clenched fiststo find you.”
“There are even worse things that could happen because you set off from the proximal world. So when you accidentally knock on the Door next time, your situation will be even more severe. I think there is a high possibility where you will be completely lost in your basic form. You will become a kite without a string.”
Thales was so stunned he could not speak. He laboriously tried to understand what the stranger was talking about. “A kite without a string? So where would I go?”
The stranger only shook his head. “I don’t know…”
The atmosphere around him changed. His words became stern. “…because there is no one who has ever returned.”